stranger fiction : Preface

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If you want to skip the preface and jump straight into the book, here you go:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3 — Part 1

Chapter 3 — Part 2

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

edit: I found my illustrations. This is the new book, illustrations and all. ~AS 25/9/16

I began writing Each Sauntering Step soon after publishing the third issue of an avant-garde magazine with a couple of friends (shout-out to Sailesh and Baraskar). I had just turned twenty-two, and mistakenly assumed that the only reason I wasn’t a literary phenomenon was because I hadn’t written a novel, the kind that people of that age want to write, the kind that explains ‘everything’. Having just squirmed my way through college and into a shirt-and-trouser corporate job, what else was I supposed to think? I was just playing my part as a just-out-of-college aspiring writer.

But then I did what most just-out-of-college aspiring writers don’t do. I sat and wrote that novel. By January of 2015, I was done with something that vaguely resembled what I had set out to write. In the two-and-a-half years that had passed, I had written a seven-chapter novella, illustrated it, edited it countless times, even outright rewritten it. But something about it just didn’t feel right. I now understand I had done another thing over those two-and-a-half years — picked up a whole bunch of experiences that had transformed me from a bumbling college kid to a bumbling adult. Both my speaking and writing voice had changed. As had my views on life. And the novella suffered for it. So after spending hundreds of hours writing tens of thousands of words, I had to come to the sad conclusion that I did not believe in the novella enough to even try publishing it. I was dejected, of course. And, of course, I did not really want to write again.

Until one day I did. Nine months post that, I quit my job to write another novel, a novel titled Slip Inside This House that, as of the writing of this preface, is being ignored by editors nationwide. But this isn’t a preface to that novel. This is a preface to the first one, without which I would never have been able to write the second one. More than four years have passed since I first sat down and started work on what would become Each Sauntering Step. Now, fresh off the completion of my second novel, I am preparing the first one for eyes other than mine to read. Starting today, I plan on serialising it (minus illustrations, which I lost in the Great Hard Drive Crash of 2016). All I will give you by way of introduction is this stock quote — “Each Sauntering Step is a dark comedy about the life of Ashwin Ram, a self-diagnosed sad-sack.” — and nothing else, except that I hope you enjoy it.

Akhil

12/09/16